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icon  Gender

AIDSFree Activities in Gender

AIDSFree promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment across the continuum of HIV services both across the project and through implementation of its gender strategy and activities. AIDSFree's Gender Strategy articulates the project's approach for advancing the PEPFAR gender strategic areas at both global and country levels. The strategy focuses on addressing gender inequalities to achieve better HIV prevention, care, and treatment outcomes.

Worldwide, women are disproportionately affected by HIV compared to men. This disparity is due not only to physical vulnerability to the virus itself, but also to social norms that decrease women’s power relative to men and limit their access to resources, health care, and protective services. Harmful male gender norms are a contributing factor to this disparity. These norms may make men and boys more likely to engage in risky behaviors and less likely to access health services. They may also damage men’s ability to fully engage with their families as both caregivers and equal partners. Gender norms also increase HIV risk for men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender persons. AIDSFree will address harmful gender norms and gender inequalities through the following initiatives:

  • South-to-South Collaboration: In south-to-south collaboration, developing countries exchange expertise and resources to achieve a shared objective. This type of exchange can lead to more sustainable solutions to major development challenges. AIDSFree's south-to-south framework and toolkit helps PEPFAR country teams facilitate the planning and implementation of south-to-south technical assistance exchanges around PEPFAR’s gender strategic areas.
  • Gender-Based Violence Initiative: GBV encompasses a wide range of behaviors, including several that are closely linked to HIV transmission:
    • Physical and sexual intimate partner violence (including marital rape)
    • Sexual assault or rape
    • Female genital cutting/mutilation
    • Sexual violence against children and adolescents
    • Child marriage
    In 2011, PEPFAR launched the three-year Gender-Based Violence Initiative (GBVI) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The initiative seeks to strengthen GBV programs and policies in all three countries by developing national GBV guidelines, improving inter-sectoral collaboration, and enhancing response to GBV in clinic- and community-based services. AIDSFree will document experiences with the GBVI in all three countries. The findings will inform PEPFAR and other implementers working in GBV prevention and response and HIV integration.
  • Services for Children and Adolescents Experiencing Sexual Violence: Sexual violence and exploitation against children and adolescents are critical to HIV prevention, care, and treatment. AIDSFree is developing a companion guide to build linkages between community and clinical services for improved management of sexual violence against children and adolescents.

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